Writing a Scene for Ashes on Fallen Snow

Yesterday on my Facebook Page I posted the following:

I haven’t posted on my page for a couple of months – I’ve been so busy re-writing the beginning and ending of “Ashes on Fallen Snow”, so I apologise for my absence. I promise you that I haven’t fallen out with anyone! The book is now completely written, but it is two-dimensional – just words on paper. Now I am breathing life into it and, to me, this is the best part of writing a novel. I have never had any formal training in creative writing, so please don’t think that my way of doing this is anywhere to be found in any National Curriculum!

The process of writing is, I suspect personal to each author and on many levels a very private and lonely activity. However, today I am going to write a scene to insert into “Ashes on Fallen Snow” and I thought my readers might like to have a bit of an insight into how I go about writing a descriptive passage.

First of all, I think of the scene in my novel I am describing, close my eyes and step inside, seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing and tasting everything around me.

Then I brainstorm on a sheet of paper. This is what I have written as a point of reference this morning, ready to capture the creative flow I know will come once I start to write:

Snow metaphors: Masking the truth; cotton wool for a troubled mind; ferns of frost forming on glass are like creeping secrets; footprints in fresh snow – new start. Deepening snow – dampening, dulling a painful past.

Words and phrases:
Diamonds; holding down, illuminating from below, light reversed, wondrous miracles tramped underfoot; grandeur; parts of a whole; living becoming dead; elegant; creaking underfoot; hush; silence; fogged glass/condensation. Vicious unkindness when it melts revealing hard realities.

The brainstorm of metaphors, words and phrases above is not exhaustive. No doubt I’ll think of more as I start writing. I have also drawn myself a mind-map – when I’ve written the scene I’ll post up a photograph of it – together with a copy of the first draft of the scene, which no doubt I will fiddle with endlessly so it might not be the final version that will appear in the novel.

The scene: Boxing Day in 1962. Snow is falling in Kettering and 15-year old Lydia is staring out of the window.

Hopefully, I’ll have it done by the end of the day, so you can have a sneaky peek.”

As promised, here is the mind map and the resulting written scene.  I hope it is of use to someone – who knows, it might even inspire someone to try this technique for themselves and they will end up catching the writing bug and ending up as the next literary sensation (or more likely join the rest of us in the masochistic, obsessive quest for the elusive perfection in the written word we are never quite satisfied with!)

mind mapLydia sat alone by the window in the front room, her new diary open on her lap, pen poised but unable to write anything. She watched the snow for a while, marvelling at the mystery of the intricacy of snowflakes. The intermittent patter on the windowpane should have soothed her troubled thoughts, but in the same way as the cold weather front that was sweeping the country turned tiny drops of moisture into thick clumps of snow, the nugget of worry that had formed inside her since they had arrived on Sunday afternoon began to swell and grow until it made her gasp with its enormity.

She stared at the blank page before her and for a moment wondered why the pen in her hand was shaking. She wasn’t cold: she could feel the warmth from the fire on her legs and Auntie Rose’s thick cardigan was cosy and comforting. It smelled of old ladies – lavender and honeysuckle and the sweet smell of vanilla. She wished she could somehow capture and preserve the fragrance of Auntie Rose’s cardigan and take it with her when they left this house.

Tim’s voice drifted through from the living room again. He was laughing, whooping with delight and singing Frosty the Snowman, while Uncle George said something about finding Margaret’s old sledge in the barn and borrowing a pair of wellington boots for him so that he could play in the snow when they went to Aunt Daisy’s house tomorrow.

It wasn’t fair – while Tim was obviously living in the moment, without a care in the world other than playing in the snow, she was having to worry about where they were going to live after Christmas, how she could earn enough money to put food on the table and most of all, whether they would ever see their mother again. She wrote a few words in her diary: “Today was Boxing Day …”

She couldn’t continue. She would have to try again later because, somehow, her hand wouldn’t stop shaking. It was as if the falling snow was blanking out the words in her head. There was an unnatural, hushed silence in the street outside, dampening and dulling the happy chatter, the drone of the television in the background and Tim giggling in the living room.

There was no doubt about it: their mother had known they would have a happy Christmas here – much better than the Christmas she could have given them – but like so many decisions in her life she had made the wrong choice, yet again.

The snow should be bringing grandeur and enchantment to the festive season, like a Fairy Godmother sprinkling diamond dust over multi-coloured Christmas tree lights and sparkling tinsel. The distinctive smell in the air – of wood smoke and burning coal absorbed in each and every flake from the chimneys of happy households – should have infused her with joy and excitement. It should have been a miracle, because everyone knew snow at Christmas-time was a miracle.

But the snow was not a miracle. Not this year. Not when tomorrow, Christmas would be over and the metamorphosis of Tim would be complete. Somehow, over the space of just two days, Tim had pulled all the confidence and sense of self-worth out of her and transferred it into himself, leaving her feeling empty, quiet and tearful.

From the moment their mother had walked away from them on Sunday, they had begun to be pulled apart, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle spilt into the innocent optimism of a child and the quiet pessimistic worries of an adult, because that was now what she must become. On some primal level, she knew she had always been more than a sister to Tim, but now their mother had left them at what should have been a time of family togetherness, she knew that no matter what the future held, she and Tim would never be the same again.

The arrival of the snow completed the change. It had smothered their past, covering and imprisoning reality. It had muffled the harshness of poverty, hunger, cold and fear, blurring the distinction between the time that had gone and the time that was to come. Everything was now fresh, clean and sterile, but it was also uncertain – their future illuminated from below; their world turned upside down by light reversed. But Lydia knew the snow would eventually melt, and when it did it would reveal a vicious underworld of truth for her brother, forcing him to grow up when he was still a child.

Tim burst into the front room, his cheeks glowing. ‘It’s getting deeper, Lydia. Isn’t it exciting? It’s so white! Uncle George says that when we go to Aunt Daisy’s tomorrow, she will let us have a snowball fight, so you’d better ask if you can borrow a pair of gloves.’

Lydia smiled at her brother, determined to overcome the gloominess that had engulfed her. It was so good to see him confident, talkative and happy for once.

It was almost dark now. She stood up and pulled back the curtain so she could see just how deep the snow was. Just for a while, she allowed it to blank out her worries and fears for the future.

Snow is like cotton wool for a troubled mind, she thought as she walked out of the room to join the rest of the family. She made a bargain with herself. While the snow is on the ground I won’t let myself worry about what is going to happen to us.

Introducing … Tom Jeffson (1879-1971)

Blank bookcover with clipping pathOh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive


H-h-hello. It’s my pleasure to meet you all, I’m sure.

My name is Tom Jeffson. It’s time for me to meet all my readers, because that bloody great-granddaughter o’ mine gunna shove me down the river Amazon.  It’s some blinkin’ new fangled way of reading books nowadays, apparently. I don’t know what your world’s coming to – first the wireless, then the television, then landing on the moon and now all you do is gaze into those little matchboxes you write on and talk into. Is it right what I’ve just heard? Books are on their way out because of things called Kindles and the river Amazon? Now I know your world really is going doolally! Thank goodness it’s out in paperback, too. If you’re like me and you don’t like this ‘ere Amazon thingy, you can get the paperback on 12th December.

See that there quote at the top of the page? I’ve always liked that sayin’, but it just goes to show, you might think you’ve got away with everythin’ in your life, smile smugly to yerself and think yer secrets go up in a puff o’ smoke, along with yer earthly remains, but then fate conspires to bring folks together and they talk about yer when yer dead and it’s a bit of a bugger when yer not there to explain yerself. You see, I practised deception for a good part o’ my life, but I ain’t proud of it. Lies … secrets … bullyin’ … lust …  I was an expert in every single one of the seven deadly sins.

I tried to make amends as best I could, but I died a ‘orrible death and then I was made to wait until now to face you all so you could judge me. Don’t any of you think you will ‘ide from divine retribution – I thought I had got away with it all, but then my youngest daughter started tellin’ my great-grandaughter her life story, warts an’ all. Can you imagine a more deadly combination? Our Daisy with a memory as sharp as a knacker’s knife and my Anne a writer, with an himagination to rival William Blake, the daft poet who writ that poem The Sick Rose. She reckons I wuz the worm that flies in the night. Ha ha ha.  She’s  got an un’ealthy hobsession with fancy poetry, if yer ask me.

Anne (also known as Annie) is my great-granddaughter.  I always knew she’d be a writer – right proud of ‘er I was when she were a nipper and she used to let me read her little stories. I’ve lorst count with ‘ow many kids, grandkids and great-great grandkids, I’ve got – it’s a big of a bugger keepin’ track nowadays, ‘specially since some o’ them were … what …?  Oh, give over woman!

I ain’t allowed to tell yer – the missus, Liz, is cringing here beside me. Yer needn’t worry though.  She knows all about me shortcomin’s.  There ain’t no secrets where I am – yer kent ‘ide owt from the missus when yer dead. It’s one o’ the rules up ‘ere. You see, I was a bit of a tomcat when I wuz alive. Ha Ha – a bit of a lad I was. ‘Ere – you’ll never guess how one of them was conceived. One day, when I was just minding me own business this woman just flashed ‘er ti …

Ok, ok, Liz …. keep yer ‘at on!  The missus reckons it’s bad enough ‘aving me life dragged through the mud in this ‘ere trilogy wi’out me goin’ on about me dippin’ me wick all uvver the town on this blog. I’m afraid yer will ‘ave to read the books to find out what I got up to when I wuz alive in the bad ole days.

Anyways, I want yer all to know that if yer ‘ave secrets, and practise deception – like wot I did when I wuz alive, the truth will come out one day. There ain’t no ‘scape. I am ashamed o’ some of the ‘orrible things I did to people I loved. But the good thing is when yer die, as long as yer sorry … really and honestly sorry … yer’ll end up ‘ere wi’ me and not down there under the ground yer standing on, if yer know what I mean. And anyway – it weren’t all my fault and I ‘ave that on devine authority. ‘Twas on account of me dodgy upbringin’ – damaged me psychologically, it did.

I hope you all enjoy the first book in the Trilogy. By this time next year all my secrets will be out.  It’s a bit of a bugger, actually. Our Daisy’s up ‘ere with her sisters now. She’s right excited about her book being published, even if she embroider the truth a bit. Well … what do you expect. It’s a novel, not a bloody memoir.  I want you all to remember that when you read it – bits of it are made up and some bits are left out because they are private.

You see that pretty little gal on the cover?  The one with the striking red hair and freckly nose? Well, that’s our Sophie and she’s my great, great, great granddaughter.  I hope when she’s old enough she doesn’t think too badly of me.

Anyway, cheerio me ol’ fruits. It’s lovely to meet you all. I’ll buy you all a pint of ale or a tot of the ole mother’s ruin when I see yer.”

Thank you Gramp. Little did you know when you encouraged me all those years ago when I’d only just learned how to spell my name that you’d end up on the world wide web!  Annie xx

It’s (almost) here – Sunlight on Broken Glass

Blank bookcover with clipping pathI know it’s been a long time, and my family and friends have been waiting patiently for the first book in the Jeffson Family Trilogy, but you know what they say – the best things in life are worth waiting for. I certainly hope Sunlight on Broken Glass will not disappoint.

The trilogy has been carefully and painstakingly crafted and honed since the beginning of 2002.

My father had passed away quite suddenly on 7th December 2001, leaving my mother feeling lonely and bereft, wondering how on earth she was going to live without him.  She was only 69 – quite young to be a widow. She had always been very close to her auntie, Rita Crick, who had been widowed quite a few years previously.  When my dad was alive they used to visit her regularly and mum used to joke that if ever they fell out, she would “just go and live with Auntie Rita”.

It wasn’t long before Auntie Rita had taken Mum under her wing and her family (mum’s cousins – Barbara and Kevin and their families) began to include her in their family gatherings.  Between us all we helped to ease Mum into a new kind of life without Dad.  Auntie Rita and Mum had lunch at Mum’s bungalow on Tuesday lunchtimes and it wasn’t long before I began to turn up, too – for my baked potatoes with crust (a Kettering delicacy), mashed potatoes and mushy peas. Delicious.

One day, Auntie Rita began reminiscing about her childhood. I was fascinated and so was Mum, because the anecdotes and sometimes eyebrow-raising revelations included her mother, too – my Grandma – who had passed away in 1996.  We decided to write it all down the next week.

I turned up with enthusiasm, a pen and a new notebook – writers don’t need much of an excuse to buy a new notebook.  I was so late going back to work that day, I had to lie to my boss that my car wouldn’t start and make the time up over the rest of the week!

My daughter got married in July 2002, and at her wedding reception Auntie Rita said to me: “you know, I’d like to write my memoirs – properly so when I pop off everyone can read them”. Auntie Rita always talked about dying as if it was no more than popping off to the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread!

I loved Tuesday lunchtimes. Soon, it became Saturday afternoons, too.  Then the pair of them began to live together – half a week at Mum’s bungalow and the other half of the week at Auntie Rita’s house.  Barbara, Kevin and I were always ferrying them back and forth but we didn’t mind because they loved each others company so much.

Months turned into a year, and then the year turned into two … and so on.  After a couple of years I had something like 70,000 words of random memories on my computer, but they were in no particular life order – just a series of anecdotes and stories.   We had also become too pernickety about detail,  trying to make sure everything was remembered correctly. I said something like: “you know what, Auntie Rita, it doesn’t matter about the detail if we write it as a novel. We can even leave out the bad bits that upset you and pretend it all didn’t happen.

It was then we began to have lots of fun with many “what ifs”.  Auntie Rita had lots of tragedies in her life and some of the memories were very painful. I think a part of her wanted to keep them in the story, but another side of her wanted to explore the “what ifs” with me.  The “what ifs” won in the end, although I did keep the notes of all the tragedies and in one way or another they appear in various forms throughout the trilogy, but with fictitious characters bearing the brunt!

In 2005, we couldn’t believe it when we realised that about four years had passed and we were still writing her life story!  Mum loved it too, chipping in where she could and filling in gaps from things my grandma had told her.

In 2006, the whole thing got too big – and I knew it was going to have to be a novel. We thought long and hard about names and decided to change some of them. Characters who were still alive were asked what they wanted to be called in the novels – for instance my Auntie Barbara wanted to be called “Eileen” because when she was a little girl, she always called her dolls Eileen.  Auntie Rita wanted to be called “Daisy” because Uncle Harry used to sing “Bicycle Made for Two” to her when they were courting.

Auntie Rita always worried about Mum and used to constantly whisper to me about what I should do to help her through the tough time she was expecting Mum to go through when she “popped off”.  However, life does like to throw little eccentricities our way from time to time, and little did she know that Mum would go first.

On 1st December 2006 my beautiful, perfect mother passed away.  I think the last image she saw before she lost consciousness was my Auntie Rita’s time-worn, life-battered, heartbroken face as she sat by her bedside in Cransley Hospice.

And so it was with heavy hearts Auntie Rita and I carried on with the story – but now the ending was going to have to be re-written.

On 19th June 2007, I printed out a first draft of a manuscript for us to go through. It was a Saturday and in the midst of one of the worst thunderstorms this country has ever seen, I drove round to Auntie Rita’s house to spend the afternoon with her and my then two year-old grandson, Tyler.

I couldn’t get in.  I peered through the front window. The TV was on and the back door was open. I shouted through the letterbox. By then I was soaked through and very worried. I had rung her about an hour or so previously and she knew what time I would be there. I got back into my car and rang Auntie Barbara.  I won’t go into details, but Auntie Rita had suffered a stroke while preparing her dinner and was lying on the kitchen floor. She eventually passed away in August 2007.

Tyler’s earliest memory is the blue flashing lights of the ambulance. Luckily, that awful memory has dragged with it beautiful memories of “Mam-ma and, Mam-ma Rita”. He’s nearly ten now, and he says he can remember how much they both loved him.

So here we are at last. Sunlight on Broken Glass will be published as an e-book on 1st December with the paperback on 12th December. The first manuscript was so long it has had to be split into a trilogy. Because she wasn’t here to ask, I have had to make some decisions about what to leave in and what to leave out. I’ve had to create characters to emphasise and bring to life some of the plots and sub-plots. I have had to craft and paint these three novels to bring Auntie Rita’s story alive in my readers’ imaginations.

I hope I have done her proud.




In the Shadow of the Tree

My mum passed away seven years ago today. I was devastated and although I still miss her, I have surrounded myself with reminders of her in every element of my life. In the kitchen at work, there is a plate and cruet set that belonged to mum. I have a cardigan in my wardrobe that still smells like mum and my living room contains a clock and two ornaments from her house.  Although these are material things that keep her memory alive and they give me a degree of emotional security, I know that nature has welded not only me but my own children and grandchildren to Mum in a bond that can’t be broken. Good or bad – genes run through all of us in every tear we shed, every cell our body renews and every memory stored forever in the synapses of our brain, fueled by the strength of our five senses.

I can still smell my mum on the cardigan in her wardrobe, I can close my eyes and remember what my parents looked like at various ages, I can touch things like the plate, the cruet set, the clock and the ornaments and I can hear her humming along to a favourite tune when it comes on the radio.

In 2007, one year after Mum died, I wrote this poem while sitting on a bench at the crematorium near the tree where we had scattered Dad’s ashes in December 2001 and Mum’s in December 2006.


My mother died a year ago today
We scattered her ashes just here.
Where five years earlier almost to the exact day
We scattered Dad’s earthly remains.

2002 – the first December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here,” she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we heard my dad, that year, as we sat in silent memory, one year on.
We heard him in the gentle rustle of the trees.
In the wind that sent autumn’s leaves scurrying across the path,
And the birdsong that filled the late autumn air with melody.

2003 – the second December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here,” she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we could smell him in the fragrance of the freesias
We set gently under the tree
And the earth we turned as we planted snowdrops, in his memory,
And the sweet smell of grass mingled with the faint aroma of pine trees.

2004 – the third December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here,” she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we could touch him so easily with our minds
If we closed our eyes, reached out and stroked his cheek,
Hugged him tightly and felt the warmth and sensation of his skin
On our skin. The comforting gentle caress of his hands on ours.

2005 – the fourth December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here, she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we could taste him in a sweet cup of tea (which he loved).
Digestive biscuits; chicken soup; fresh warm bread and best butter;
And roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – his favourite;
And apricots; and bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning
Cooked with mum’s apron tied around his waist.

2006 – the fifth December I sat on the seat
Just over there – alone.
“They’re not here, I thought. “I don’t feel them here.”
Scattered ashes, barely visible after a few days.
Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes. Empty. Lonely. Lost.
Senses frozen in silent, cold, grief.

2007 – the sixth December I sit on the seat
Just here – alone.
“They’re not here, I think. “I don’t feel them here.”
But I close my eyes and imagine. I can SEE them!
They come with me this year, my mum and my dad, to this place of peace. Reunited, holding hands as they sit with me on the bench
I can hear them, smell them, touch them, taste them, see them
whenever I like for they are with me always
In all my senses.

Garden Gnomes and Elephants

Hello! (waves).

Before you start reading this post, please be assured that (a) this is not me in this photo and (b) the comment does not refer to you!

Anyone who knows me in person will know that above all else in life I treasure my family and good old-fashioned values.  I have always believed in the old adage that blood is thicker than water. Our family is growing all the time, with each new marriage or birth bringing with it new family members into the fold. I passionately believe that children thrive on the security a sprawling family structure brings with it. Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and brothers and sisters all have a role to play in supporting parents to bring up their children.

My parents were also very family-orientated, and both my brother and myself were brought up properly. We had a fabulous childhood and always knew our mum and dad loved us very much. We had rows – of course we did – but they always ended up with someone saying sorry and usually a hug or two. We rarely went to bed on an argument. Looking back, the longest-running conflict, I’m ashamed to say, was between myself and Mum. I think it lasted about three years. We clashed spectacularly when I was aged between 13 and 16. I did eventually come to my senses and realised that Mum had actually done me a massive favour by being hard on me.  The same thing happened with my own daughter when she was the same age, so I suppose it was ‘Karma’ coming back to bite me on the bum! A good mum will instinctively be hard on her daughter because it will ultimately ensure she becomes a strong-minded woman.  Women need to be strong to protect their children. It is only human nature. Mothers and teenage daughters fight all the time.

Now what I am saying here, is that, up until relatively recently, family ding-dongs were always conducted face-to-face. Angry words were shouted out, emotions vented in yells of frustration and tears were shed – mostly on poor Dad’s shirt.  We argued, we made up, we hugged, we laughed at some of the stupid things we said and above all, we said ‘sorry’ and the other person could see that we meant it. Hurtful words disappeared and eventually were forgotten.

I remember arguing with friends, too. We pouted our lips, flounced off in a huff,  slagged each other off and then, when confronted with a common enemy (usually in the form of a teacher or a boy) we regrouped and closed ranks, crying into each other’s hair and vowing eternal and everlasting friendship. The lads, we observed, were more physical and arguments sometimes ended in black eyes and broken limbs. Even lads, forced by a hated teacher or a parent to apologise to each other, usually patched up their differences and were soon best buddies again.

Remember? I’m sure you do.

I worry about the changing world and the subliminal but potentially deadly influence of modern communication instead of face-to-face human interaction, but at the same time appreciate and embrace technological advances.

All this technology needs to be handled with care. It can cheapen and denigrate the written word all too easily, but it can also magnify it and turn it into a monster, sometimes spectacularly with terrible consequences.  Just this week a young woman has lost her job, made the national news and has probably been scarred for life by tweeting that she knocked a cyclist off his bike. It was just a few words, communicated in a moment of irritation, but look what has happened now?  Click on this link for the full story.

Used with care and good judgement, social networking and text messaging enriches and brings embellishment and colour to the modern world. People can connect with each other so easily nowadays and I am a big advocate of children using technology to learn. We can’t get left behind. Things change and we can never go back.

BUT ….

The power of the written word can destroy relationships with just a split second’s tap on the return key. The written word is permanent. It can be stored on a phone or sit forever in a mailbox. It can be summoned up and read again, and again, and again …

The words simmer, bubbling just beneath the surface of a spoken apology. The lines of communication become fragmented and disappear into a cauldron full of recriminations, suppressed anger and resentment. When, once, people would knock on each other’s doors or pick up a telephone to clear the air, Facebook sits like an elephant in everyone’s home – just a click away. Before long, a wandering finger will click on the ‘unfriend’ button. Someone will pick up their phone and tap out a text and press ‘send’ when, in the olden days, they would pick up a piece of paper and write a letter, pouring out all their resentment and anger, only to tear it up and chuck it in the bin the next morning, having realised the consequences of posting it. All that has been lost is a night’s sleep, tossing and turning, worrying about the argument or difference of opinion.

The outcome of sending the text or posting that tweet or facebook status is a lost relationship. Gone. Forever with just a twitch of a muscle in a rash moment. It might even be a lifelong friendship or a relative that is sacrificed, all because of modern technology taking the place of human interaction.

Our children, and future children, are much too precious for the technology of the modern world to destroy their basic humanity. Let’s all work together and teach them an old mantra with a modern twist –

“If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say it at all (especially in a text, email or on Facebook)”

As children grow up, we can help them to respect technology and use it with care. As a writer, I am perhaps more aware of the power of the written word than many people.

I really hope this post makes a difference – and more importantly, no one is offended by it.  If you are, then just pick up the phone and ring me so that we can talk about it face to face!

Grandma’s House is at The Seaside

Last weekend , I drove past my childhood home.  My three year-old grandson, Charlie sat next to me and we had a discussion about where people live. He understood that people live in different places, but this conversation got me thinking all day long:

Me: ‘Where do you live, Charlie?’

Charlie: ‘At home.’

Me: ‘Where is your house?’

Charlie: ‘With Mummy and Daddy and Barney.’ (Barney is their soppy, old, black Labrador)

Me: ‘Where does Grandma live?’ (I am Granny – his other grandmother is Grandma)

Charlie: ‘Grandma’s house is at the seaside in “Mablefort” (Mablethorpe).

Me: ‘Where do Granny and Grandad live?’

Charlie: ‘In “Barseagrave” (Barton Seagrave).

From this conversation it is clear to me that, in Charlie’s view, his home is not a place made of bricks and mortar. It is wherever his mummy, daddy and Barney are.  He does know that he lives near us in “Barseagrave” because he has been learning his address.

The old saying Home is Where the Heart Is, might be a cliche but from Charlie’s view of the world he lives at home and his heart is with his mummy and daddy. Places are just bricks and mortar.

Mind you, I bet his ‘seaside grandma’s house’ is a far more exciting place to be than ours!